A dynamic and enterprising area
Some of Barcelona’s most unique buildings are concentrated in an area that occupies a stretch of just over one kilometre around Plaça de les Glòries. These buildings include the Torre Agbar, the Teatre Nacional, the Auditori, the Design Hub, the old Clot Flourmill as well as several skyscrapers that house the company headquarters of companies such as RBA and Mediapro. Small businesses, artists’ studios and life-long establishments also make this a vibrant area and one that is constantly changing. There is always something to do in Glòries.
The bastions of a proud neighbourhood
Just off Plaça de les Glòries, the Farinera del Clot (Clot Flourmill) buzzes with activity, and the dozens of workshops, courses, conferences, shows and exhibitions make this cultural centre the beating heart of the neighbourhood and a meeting point for its residents. Behind the old flourmill there is Parc del Clot, an expansive green space on the land of an old train depot, where elements of the old industrial site still remain.
The area has kept the memory of its working-class past very much alive. This is a good place to understand the fusion of the Barcelona of the Industrial Revolution and the Barcelona of the future; here multinational companies share in the celebration of traditional neighbourhood festivities, and twenty-first century buildings stand alongside vestiges of the past, such as Passatge de Robacols or Plaça del Mercat.
Contemporary art and architecture
On the other side of Avinguda Diagonal and sheltered by the ultra-modern Torre Agbar designed by Jean Nouvel, we find “The Stapler”, a name given to the Barcelona Design Hub. This striking building was created specifically to showcase everything that the city has to offer in terms of design. Here, the new Museum of Design features collections of works representing the decorative arts as well as temporary exhibitions, and visitors can take part in organised activities based around this cultural phenomenon that is so closely identified with Barcelona.
A completely different experience is on offer at Can Framis, a much smaller and often overlooked museum specialising in contemporary art. The museum organises guided tours and educational activities for people who are new to art, allowing everyone to enjoy the subject and learn about it. Discovering Can Framis starts with the building itself a remnant of the neighbourhood’s industrial past and its surrounding gardens.
Nearby, the Barcelona Encants flea market is a surprising sight. The avant-garde building that houses the market merits a visit all on its own, especially with its shimmering mirrored roof. It is a real pleasure to wander around the stalls inside, which sell everything imaginable, from second-hand items to clothing and furniture.
A showcase for major talent
The Auditori is just down the street from here and has become a reference point for music lovers. A wide variety of outstanding concerts and music programmes are staged at this venue. It shares the building with the Museu de la Música, which contains instruments from all eras and from across the five continents.
Finally, the Teatre Nacional de Catalunya (TNC), just across the street, provides the ideal final stop on our multi-faceted itinerary. This post-modern building, with its Greco-Roman architectural flair, is one of the country’s quintessential theatres. Every season, the TNC stages performances of masterpieces from the world of theatre as well as works by highly acclaimed contemporary writers; it is a must for theatre lovers.